New York fashion photographer Jamie Beck, in collaboration with the designer and motion graphics artist Kevin Burg, have created a series called “cinemagraphs” of animated Gif images with an aim to reach somewhere between photographic and video images, still images transformed into moments.
Gif (Graphics Interchange Format) was developed in 1987 (CompuServe) to replace the earlier RLE format which was black and white only. Nowadays Gif is widely used on the World Wide Web, both for still images and for animations.
Gif uses LZW data compression which is much more efficient than the run-length encoding. Due to it you can download large images even with a slow modem for quite a reasonable time. The optional interlacing feature made it possible to recognize even a partially downloaded image as a user can abort the download if it is not what was required. GIF images are limited to 256 colours, though it is possible to hack around this limitation, under certain circumstances, using the animation feature.
“Of course the technology to create GIF’s has been around for decades but I believe its potential for both expression and impact, within the fashion world, has yet to be fully explored. Let me put it this way – film has been around for a century, does that mean that we’ve exhausted the possibilities?” Jamie Beck
The two artists began to experiment with this technique during the Milan Fashion Week in February 2011. The first approach was to sequence the images with loops in quick succession. Insubsequent attempts have instead attempted to capture a moment in time, isolating parts of the picture and making the movement more fluid.
Here’s a sample of Beck’s and Burg’s Cinemagraphs:
“There’s something magical about a still photograph – a captured moment in time – that can simultaneously exist outside the fraction of a second the shutter captures.” Jamie Beck